Hellmuth Runs Into an ‘Idiot From Northern Europe’ at 2008 WSOP

There are thousands of hours of archived poker footage dating back over the last decade and beyond. Among these thousands of hours there are moments that truly stand out – some for their historic value, and others for their pure, unfiltered human emotion. With ‘Moments in Time’, BLUFF takes some of the most memorable videos that poker has to offer and squeezes out some extra laughs by breaking it all down, frame-by-frame.

Last week we looked at the first half of a video that showed one of Phil Hellmuth’s legendary rants, brought on by a hand against then-relatively unknown pro Adam Levy at the 2008 World Series of Poker. This week we look at the second half, which features another classic Hellmuth explosion that took place on the same day. This time Hellmuth’s ire was directed at Finnish player Santeri Valikoski

4:03 The WSOP coverage cuts to later on in Day 4 of the 2008 WSOP Main Event, as Hellmuth’s table is moved away from the TV stage. At this point he’s the last Main Event champion standing in the field.


4:10 Levy’s still here, too, and it looks like he’s been hearing it from Hellmuth since the end of their previous hand. He likely regrets the “aggressive call” line he jabbed Hellmuth with all those hours ago. It’s the same kind of far-away stare you see from a parent whose young child has been wailing for 20 straight minutes to get something from the toy store – Levy’s retreated into a happy place in his mind.


4:15 We get our first look at Valikoski, the second person who will send Hellmuth off the deep end.


4:17 No hole card cameras, but we see that it’s Hellmuth’s K T against Valikoski’s 7 5.


4:21 To the flop we go…


4:24 A soft, subtle check, and Hellmuth quickly cuts three orange chips off the top of his stack, tossing them gently out in front of him. So far, so good.


4:28 “This is a bluff,” claims Hellmuth. Norman Chad quickly corrects his statement for the viewing audience, but we can see where he stands. With Phil’s advice, this hand should be super easy for Valikoski.


4:31 Hellmuth’s already getting fidgety in his seat.


4:34 Valikoski calls, and Hellmuth continues to move around in his seat – he seems very uncomfortable. He looks at his stack, returns the chips he’s been shuffling to that stack, takes a quick glance at Valikoski and then returns to the huddled up position he favored so heavily at that time. He awaits the turn


4:40 The A. Not a great card for Hellmuth’s hand, but he seems to have a plan.


4:44 Valikoski changes it up and cuts out a bet of 25,000.


4:50 “I raise,” Hellmuth quickly responds. It’s just over a min-raise, to 55,000. “Phil is representing the ace, or a big pocket pair,” notes Chad.


4:56 A close up of Valikoski, who hesitates for just a second before calling. “He must have a read on Phil,” says Lon McEachern. “Valikoski is representing no fear.”


5:02 Hellmuth returns to his default position of hiding behind his clenched fists, but now it just looks as if he’s got ‘Please be a heart. Please be a heart. Please be a heart.’ running through his head.


5:04 And it’s the 6, a total blank


5:06 Valikoski checks, giving Hellmuth another chance to stab at it. With only a five, it could be a tough call for him.

5:09 Nope, it’s a quick check back. As Valikoski feebly flashes his hand to Hellmuth, he lights the fuse for another explosion.

5:11 “NO, he didn’t,” shouts Hellmuth as he shoots up out of his chair. “Stupid moron,” he continues, mumbling under his breath as he walks away from the table. Hellmuth takes a few steps back and shouts to someone off camera. “Called a raise with five-seven. Idiot from Northern Europe.”


5:20 Hellmuth throws up his hands, and heads completely off the reservation once again. Being part of the production crew covering a Hellmuth table has to be a challenge in spots like this. “That was the idiot from Northern Europe against the Renaissance Man from Western America,” quips Chad.


5:37 Hellmuth throws his hands up once more, continuing, “Freaking idiots, god, they play so bad.”


5:39 He sits down, throws in an ante, and returns his sunglasses to their upright and locked position. One more shake of the head, and it’s off to one last commercial break as his table-mates can barely stifle their laughter.

“Phil did everything he could to get the Finn off his hand, but those Northern Europeans are stubborn people,” says McEachern to close out the segment. If they’re stubborn, what does that make Hellmuth?


5:50 “Back at the Rio, Phil Hellmuth still hasn’t gotten over that last hand, and you know Norman, he may never get over it.”

5:57 “What is going on here?”


5:59 “I just can’t believe this,” says Hellmuth, and with that the full meltdown is in effect. He smashes his own stack and seemingly tries to squeeze all of his chips into a fine dust.

“God, I mean, do I ever catch a break? I got a guy calling a raise with five-seven (Really? You don’t say.) out of position, he flops middle pair against two pair (Wait, what?) and an overflush draw (Okay). Freaking idiot from Northern Europe is trying, waiting to give me all of his money.”


6:14 That is one happy idiot, and even he can’t completely hold his stoic face in light of a Hellmuth blowup this grand.


6:15 “Personally, I think idiots from Southern Europe are more idiotic,” adds Chad. Now you’re getting that Hellmuth patter down, Norm.

6:16 And a toss of the glasses to close out the temper tantrum. Hellmuth puts the glasses back on and asks Valikoski if he was hoping that he (Hellmuth) had the exact hand he was indeed holding. He tips the brim of his hat down, and throws in one more “idiot”.

(As a side note, be careful watching this GIF – it loops pretty seamlessly and you might waste hours of your day if you’re not careful)


6:21 “Phil’s out of line again, Lon, his great play does not excuse his boorish behavior. He’s gotta stop berating other players,” says Chad to close out Hellmuth’s portion of this broadcast. On this hand in particular, at least, ‘great play’ might be a great exaggeration.

We get one more shot of the Rio, and so concludes one of the most infamous days of poker in the career of the one and only Phil Hellmuth.

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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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